It hurts me to write this, but it must be done. Don’t buy into the hype surrounding Trevor Cahill, his 18-8 record or his 2.97 ERA last season. I really like Cahill. He doesn’t walk a lot of batters (2.88 BB/9) and he pitches in a spacious ballpark, but it’s almost impossible for him to approach his numbers from last season.
For starters, his BABIP last year was .238. Typically, we expect the average BABIP to be around .300, but pitchers that allow low line drive and fly ball rates tend to have lower BABIPs anyway. Using an equation posted by Fangraphs, we see that Cahill’s expected BABIP based on his line drive, fly ball and ground ball rates last year was .287. That 49-point difference is enormous and explains the gap between his ERA and FIP (4.19). Do you really want to pay for an 18-win pitcher on a bad offensive team who was one of a handful of extremely lucky pitchers the year before and doesn’t strike out that many batters? No.
According to Mock Draft Central, Cahill’s current ADP is 88, putting him in front of guys like John Danks, Matt Garza, Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Colby Lewis and Shaun Marcum, all of whom I have ranked ahead of Cahill. In fact, Cahill was my 48th ranked starting pitcher, and the team at Baseball Professor collectively ranked him 41st in our 2011 fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings.
2011 Fantasy Projection
14-11 | 3.70 ERA | 1.25 WHIP | 137 K | 205 IP | 6.0 K/9
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